The Entire Timeline Of The Conjuring Universe Explained

The Conjuring Universe has been on our minds lately, thanks to the newest addition to the franchise, The Devil Made Me Do It! Superheroes have long been in the business of giving us whole universes, and now supernatural horror films have joined the club.

The thing I like most about universes is their ability to create a parallel or alternate world for the viewers. It’s almost like the another reality that we can tap into.

Consider the MCU, DC Universe or even Hogwarts, the uniqueness of these franchises lie in their ability to transport the fans into a completely parallel world. The Conjuring Universe is no different. Just that it is way creepier.

It could be a bit confusing and a lot of hassle for a beginner to figure out the timeline followed in the universe. Frankly speaking, it’s all over the place.

I guess the makers were not in a mood to create a whole franchise out of The Conjuring, but we kinda compelled them by making it a massive success.

The franchise began in 2013 with the release of The Conjuring, but since then there has been prequels, sequels as well as spin-offs.

You can follow the release order as well because that’s exactly what everyone actually did back when theatres were open. Moment of silence there.

Here’s an explanation of the timeline followed in the universe and where each film stands.

1. The Nun (2018)

The Nun is where it all begins!

The Nun is set in 1952 and is basically the one which we can consider the origin of it all. Director Corin Hardy had written the film to be a sort of origin, or the starting point for all the evil stuff.

The Nun explores the origin and growth of The Conjuring’s ultimate evil spirit, Valak. After a nun commits suicide at the Abbey of St. Carta, people are scared that Valak and his evil powers are involved.

The Entire Timeline Of The Conjuring Universe Explained
The Nun

The film opens on a clip of Valak’s damage, along with Lorraine Warren’s voiceover from The Conjuring 2. (Don’t worry, things will be clearer by the end of this article, I promise!)

The Nun’s motive is to dig into the individual or the ultimate reason that is responsible for beginning all the supernatural trouble in the film saga, along the mystery behind the summoning of Valak and other demons.

After it seems as though Sister Irene and company have defeated Valak, The Nun reveals that they were unsuccessful. The film also jumps to 1977, when the Warrens’ “three stages of possession” lecture took place (Reference to The Conjuring 2).

It is worth mentioning that each film is connected to the others in an interesting way.  While you watch, keep a look out for references which will connect several unexplained dots throughout the universe.

It is clear that the Warrens face Valak much earlier than they thought they did. A sequel to The Nun is also in talks and presumably be set after the events of The Nun and before Annabelle: Creation.

2. Annabelle: Creation (2017)

The next one as per the timeline is Annabelle: Creation. We are still in the phase of beginnings, involving the creation and origin of powers and spirits that play significant role in later films.

Annabelle: Creation begins with the death of Samuel and Esther Mullin’s daughter Annabelle in 1943. The film is set in 1955, when the Mullins give their home to Sister Charlotte and six orphan girls who are in need of it.

The Entire Timeline Of The Conjuring Universe Explained
Annabelle Creation

The purpose of the film is to explain the origin of Annabelle and tell the tale of how the doll actually got possessed. In the film, the Mullins are desperate to reconnect with their dead daughter.

Being a dollmaker, Samuel asks an unknown evil spirit to possess a doll, which becomes Annabelle. The couple thinks the spirit is of their daughter. Now, Janice, one of the orphans befriends the possessed doll.

The film efficiently connects these events to the 2014 film, Annabelle. Annabelle: Creation is designed to be a prequel to Annabelle, though it released after it.

3. Annabelle (2014)

Set in 1967, Annabelle follows the story of yet another innocent couple, Mia and John Form who encounter the possessed doll.

The film begins with the death of Annabelle Higgins (Janice from Annabelle: Creation) who was adopted by the Higgins family after being possessed. Since Janice aka Annabelle Higgins is now dead, the spirit is eager for yet another human conduit.

Annabelle (2014) - Trapped by a Demon Scene (6/10) | Movieclips

The Forms are desperate to get rid of the trouble as strange things begin – basically the same trope of every horror film. Now the couple goes to the church and an exorcism seems to be the only viable option.

It is interesting again how Annabelle connects its events to The Conjuring, considering the former is a prequel to the latter, set 4 years before the events of The Conjuring.

Father Perez makes an indirect reference to the Warrens (though not by name) in the film and we also get an idea of how Annabelle entered the territory of the Warrens from The Conjuring films.

4. The Conjuring (2013)

The Conjuring is the first film of the franchise to have released, though it comes fourth when we follow the zig-zag timeline of the universe. The film is set in 1971, and it is where we meet Ed and Lorraine Warren for the first time.

The Entire Timeline Of The Conjuring Universe Explained
Ed & Lorraine

The Conjuring follows a pretty direct, cliché horror movie trope – the one of the haunted house. What makes it worth a watch is how loving the Warren couple is. They almost bring in a touch of love in the otherwise horrific aspects that these films deal with.

The film doesn’t feature Valak though, the evil spirit which is the cause of it all, but instead it brings in another separate but equally disturbing evil spirit known as Bathsheba. Like Valak was any less.

In my opinion, this one is the best film from the Conjuring Universe and ticks all the correct boxes. Also the one with creepy ghosts and spirits all over and the iconic cupboard scene. Must watch if you haven’t.

5. Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Annabelle Comes Home does a pretty good job of filling the gaps. The events are carefully written between the first two Conjuring films and also makes several references that make things more clear.

Set in 1971, the film begins immediately after the Warrens gain ownership of the possessed doll from Debbie, the nursing student, who’s seen in The Conjuring. We also see a glimpse of her at the end of Annabelle.

The Entire Timeline Of The Conjuring Universe Explained

The film explains how the Warrens built the cage that houses Annabelle (It is apparently made using the glass from church windows). The Conjuring’s Father Gordon (played by Steve Coulter) is also there to help them.

The film then jumps to 1972. It’s set after the events of The Conjuring . If you look properly, you can spot the music box from the Perron case is in their room of artefacts.

Other than that, the film sets the base up for a few new demonic entities as well as teases the growth of Judy Warren’s psychic abilities. There are more hints of them in The Conjuring 2, set after this one.

6. The Curse Of La Llarona (2019)

By far, The Curse of La Llarona has the farthest connection to the Conjuring Universe. Set in 1973, the events of the film can be fit after Annabelle Comes Home and just before The Conjuring 2.

The Entire Timeline Of The Conjuring Universe Explained
La Llarona

Though the connection is not strong enough, it still is significant in the sense that it fleshes out significant characters of the universe. The most important connection here is that of Father Perez (played by Tony Amendola) who reprises his role from Annabelle.

Perez is seen to be using his vital experience with the evil doll to properly prepare Anna Tate Garcia for the spirit that has eyes on Anna’s family.

Father Perez even explicitly talks about his experience with Annabelle (as seen in the film Annabelle). The doll even makes a brief appearance in a flashback.

Father Perez and Anna

That is not all. Father Perez also suggests that he would like to get the help of Warrens to handle the case of the Garcia family.

But since there was very little time in hand, he suggested Rafael Olvera (played by Raymond Cruz).

7. Conjuring 2 (2016)

The second Conjuring film is set between 1976-77 and begins with the Warrens investigating the Amityville murder case. But the focus of the film is not on this case.

But it is significant as Lorraine Warren first experiences Valak, the evil nun during this case. (Though it is later cleared that they encountered Valak much earlier than they thought).

The film then jumps to 1977, where the Warrens take up the case of the Hodgson family from Enfield. The family was being haunted by the ghost of Bill Winkins, who formerly resided in that house.

The Entire Timeline Of The Conjuring Universe Explained
Lorraine and Valak

Again, pretty common trope for a horror film. But it’s not that boring. There’s a twist. It is later discovered that the real threat here is none other than Valak and he has actually manipulated the ghost of Winkins to haunt the family.

So it is Lorraine vs Valak in Conjuring 2, mostly and the demon even successfully block’s Lorraine’s psychic powers, which is impressive.

The film ends with a significant zoetrope toy (which played an important role in the film) being added to the Warrens’ collection of artefacts, just next to Annabelle and the music box from the first Conjuring, thereby establishing the connection.

8. Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

In Conjuring 2, Lorraine is able to successfully send Valak back to hell ending the curse than began with The Nun.

So, in the latest Conjuring film, the Warrens are faced with a real life case from their files. Set in 1981, the film tells the story of Arne Johnson, a young lad who stabbed his girlfriend’s employer and landlord to death.

But Johnson claimed that he was possessed during the murders. If you’re yet to watch it, don’t worry, there won’t be many spoilers.

Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It | Official Trailer

Just to explain the connection here, it is important to mention Kastner, a former priest whose work has been proved instrumental in the investigation of a Satanic cult named Disciples of the Ram.

Let’s jump back to Annabelle: Creation. The Disciples of the Ram is actually the demonic cult which Janice aka Annabelle was a part of. So, the films find a way to connect the events of one film to another effectively.

Watch The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It on:

If you’ve just watched The Devil Made Me Do It or you’re simply considering a rewatch of the entire series, this guide is definitely going to come in handy.

But that does not mean you have to use the chronological order to make sense of the films. These films can also be watched as standalone horror films. It is not necessary to follow this order but following the order of the timeline is recommended just to make the connections. Free advice there.

It is real fun to discover the small references and connections thrown in each of the film to link it to the others in the universe. Happy watching, but don’t forget to sleep with your lights on.

Before you begin, do check out a quick and easy guide to the watch order for The Conjuring Universe:

9. About The Conjuring Universe

The Conjuring Universe is an American media franchise and shared universe centered on a series of supernatural horror films, produced by New Line Cinema, the Safran Company, and Atomic Monster Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The films present a dramatization of the supposed real-life cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators and authors associated with prominent yet controversial cases of haunting.

The main series follows their attempts to assist people who find themselves possessed by demonic spirits, while the spin-off films focus on the origins of some of the entities the Warrens have encountered.

Epic Dope Staff

Epic Dope Staff

Our talented team of Freelance writers - Always on the lookout - pour their energies into a wide range of topics bringing to our audience what they crave - fun up-to-date news, reviews, fan theories and much much more.


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